Just before the summer recess, in an amazing moment of bipartisanship, both houses of Congress voted unanimously to change the required percentage of owner occupancy in condominiums from 50% to 35% (unless FHA can prove that a higher percentage is justified within 90 day of this legislation becoming law on July 29, 2016) and made several other helpful changes. They are as follows: 

Continue Reading Congress helps condominium unit buyers – changes to FHA loan requirements

 

SADDLEBROOK ESTATES COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC.

v.

CITY OF SUFFOLK

 

TRIAL AND APPEAL HANDLED BY INMAN & STRICKLER

On June 1, 2016, the Supreme Court ruled on a case decided by a Suffolk Circuit Court Judge regarding the taxation of open space in a homeowners association.   The Court unanimously  overturned the Circuit Court ruling finding that the judge misinterpreted the law by upholding the City’s taxation of the Association’s open space. This decision provides an interpretation of a statute that applies to all POAs which have open space designated on their subdivision plats, whether leased to a third party or used by the association members for recreation or otherwise.

Continue Reading Significant win in Supreme Court of Virginia for local association with statewide benefit

Rentals; resale disclosure; condemnation

These changes are effective on July 1, 2016:

 

     “Realtor Bill.” HB684 was legislation introduced by Delegate Peace having been requested by the Virginia Association of Realtors. CAI’s Virginia Legislative Action Committee (VALAC) worked very hard to get concessions on this prior to session beginning and sought significant amendments as it went through the process to ensure a fair and balanced approach vs. the original bill which went well beyond the ultimate changes to the statute.  According to the VALAC at the end of the day the bill has a lot of moving parts but does little harm in terms of new policies impacting our group – much of it is clarification of the existing statute or standard practice. https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?161+sum+HB684  

     HB684, amending Sections 55-79.87:1 and 55-509.3:1 of the Code, provides that unless expressly provided in the Act or the recorded governing documents, an association may not:

   Condition or prohibit the rental of a unit to a tenant by a unit owner or make an assessment or impose a charge, except as provided in 55-79.42:1 of the Act;

   Charge a rental fee, application fee, or other processing fee of any kind in excess of $50 as a condition of approval of such a rental during the term of any lease;

   Charge an annual or monthly rental fee or any other fee not expressly authorized in Section 55-79.42:1 of the Act;

   Require the unit owner to use a lease or a lease addendum prepared by the Association;

   Charge any deposit from the unit owner or the tenant of the unit owner; or

   Have the authority to evict a tenant of any unit owner or to require any unit owner to execute a power of attorney authorizing the unit owners’ association to so evict.

Continue Reading What happened in the 2016 General Assembly?

The Virginia Attorney General can issue opinions concerning statutory interpretation if requested to do so by an array of government officials from the Governor to a member of the Senate or House of Delegates to a local sheriff. These opinions are not binding on a judge but are persuasive when considering the law affecting a given case. In this case a member of the General Assembly asked: Is it legal under the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act (the "Act") for an association ("POA") to deactivate a member’s barcode decal if he or she is more than sixty days late paying an assessment. Deactivation of the barcode decal will restrict, but not completely deny, entry in to the neighborhood due to the existence of two access points, one manned and one not.

Continue Reading VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL ISSUES OPINION ON

 

HUD PROPOSES RULE TO CLARIFY PROTECTIONS FOR VICTIMS OF
HARASSMENT IN HOUSING

Rule would formalize standards for bringing harassment claims under the Fair Housing Act

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it is issuing a proposed rule that would formalize standards for victims of harassment in housing to bring claims under the Fair Housing Act. The proposed rule, "Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment and Liability for Discriminatory Housing Practices under the Fair Housing Act," was published in the Federal Register today for public comment.

Continue Reading Protections for Victims of Harassment in Housing

On February 12, 2016, in Tvardek v. Powhatan Village HOA, the Virginia Supreme Court struck down a leasing amendment established by a homeowners association in Virginia as a result of the failure of the recorded amendment to contain what the Court deemed compliance with the statute on amendment of the Declaration.  Virginia Code Section 55-515.1 of the Property Homeowners Association Act requires the certification on the amendment to be ”signed by the principal officer of the association or by such other officer or officers as the declaration may specify that the requisite majority of the lot owners signed the amendment or ratifications thereof.”  In this case the amendment signed by the principal officer stated:

Continue Reading Virginia Supreme Court nullifies declaration amendment on technicality

As association attorneys we are in need of the governing documents in order to answer questions posed by the board or the manager.  Frequently we have those documents in that association’s file if we regularly represent that association.  We do need to keep up to date on any changes in the rules and regulations or architectural guidelines which may be made without our input or review.  Of course, we do believe it is a good investment for associations to allow us to review proposed rule or guideline changes before implementing to insure enforceability.  

Continue Reading DOCUMENT MAINTENANCE – DO YOU HAVE ALL OF YOUR ASSOCIATION’S GOVERNING DOCUMENTS?

By: Jeanne S. Lauer, Esq.

 

The Virginia General Assembly and the Governor have agreed on several changes to the Condominium Act and the Property Owners Association Act (POAA). As a member of the CAI Virginia Legislative Action Committee I want to let you know about these changes of which you should be aware:

 

Continue Reading NEW LAWS FOR COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2015

 

[This article is an excerpt from an article written by Mike Hunter for the

Charlotte Observer. We believe it contains some very helpful information and suggestions]

“Most swimming pools have a list of rules posted somewhere on the premises. We’ve all seen them. The rules contain common sense prohibitions against dangerous pool activities, such as having glass in the pool area and diving into the shallow end.

And almost every set of pool rules contains a statement similar to this: ‘No one under the age of 18 may use the pool unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.’ It makes sense, right?

According to a 2012 federal court opinion from California (Iniestra v. Cliff Warren Investments), a pool rule requiring adult supervision of children violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) because it discriminated against families with children.

In explaining its opinion, the federal court found the rule requiring adult supervision to not make perfect sense if its goal was to ensure the safety of all swimmers. The court noted that the Iniestra children, who were competent swimmers, were not allowed in the pool facility without a parent, but yet adults who never swam a day in their life could use the pool facility without supervision. Also illogical was that a certified lifeguard who was under 18 could not use the pool without the presence of a parent or guardian.

Continue Reading The Fair Housing Act and Your Community Pool

 

The General Assembly finally heard the hue and cry from us about lenders abuse of associations in the foreclosure process. Unfortunately this new statute does not fully end the abuse. The key word in the title above is “occur”. The first benefit of the new law is that Lenders must now give associations notice at least 60 days in advance of initiating foreclosure.  How does this help us?

Continue Reading Finally – a new law that helps Associations when foreclosures occur – House Bill 2080.